Dawn Pointer McCleskey

Dawn Pointer McCleskey is the program manager of Search.gov (formerly DigitalGov Search) at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). She is a librarian on a mission to help people find what they are looking for.

Dear Search: Reading Between the Lines of Search Data

Welcome to the first Dear Search article, an occasional series where the DigitalGov Search team addresses common search questions. Dear Search, Right now, I am building up user research services that can be offered to product owners on a regular or as-needed basis. So, being able to look at search trends and offer advice to

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Let’s Encrypt Those CNAMES, Shall We?

This is post 4 in the 5-part series, The Right Tools for the Job: Re-Hosting DigitalGov Search to a Dynamic Infrastructure Environment. This post references the previous posts frequently, so please read those before reading this one if you haven’t done so already. In addition to the DNS challenges created by offering “masked” domains such

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Quality, Speed, and Lower Costs: Yes, You Can Have It All

This is post 2 in the 5-part series The Right Tools for the Job: Re-Hosting DigitalGov Search to a Dynamic Infrastructure Environment. The last major infrastructure upgrade that DigitalGov Search had was in 2010. Not only has technology evolved significantly since then, but so have business models for right-sizing costs. Moving to Amazon Web Services (AWS)

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The Right Tools for the Job: Re-Hosting DigitalGov Search to a Dynamic Infrastructure Environment

This is the first post of a 5-part series. DigitalGov Search is a commercial-grade search engine provided as a shared-service by the United States General Services Administration. We power about 2,300 search configurations for hundreds of federal, state, and local government agencies. Using our platform, agencies can easily configure a search experience for the public that

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HTTPS and Other Ranking Factors: What Impacts the SEO of Government Websites?

Following the recent OMB memo that all publicly available federal websites and Web services must implement HTTPS by December 31, 2016, Web content managers across government are considering the SEO (search engine optimization) implications of the transition, among other details. In August 2014, Google confirmed that HTTPS is a ranking signal in their algorithm. But

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Search, Buscar, Поиск, جستجو, Cari: Creating a Good, Multilingual Search Experience

Government agencies across the United States publish content in a growing number of languages to do the business of the country. In 2015, DigitalGov Search dramatically expanded support for languages on our search results page, expanding from just English and Spanish to support 68 different languages.

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Our Customer is Your Customer: Working Together to Improve Search on .Gov Websites

We know search engines aren’t Magic 8 Balls, but that’s still how we expect them to behave. We want them to answer our complex and burning questions based on just a few words. And we’ve felt that frustration when the top search results don’t serve our needs, and the results page itself makes us work.

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Mobilegeddon: Government Edition

Much is being said and written about the coming Mobilegeddon/Mopocalypse on April 21st—the day Google’s ranking algorithm will begin boosting results for mobile-friendly sites and penalizing mobile-unfriendly sites. While some agency websites are mobile-friendly, a great many are not. We will do well to pay attention—almost 25% of traffic on government websites is coming from

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